June, 2012

mjölk Publishing

June 28th, 2012


Mjölk: Volume 1

Inspired by Japanese shop and gallery catalogs, this project has been in the works for over a year. We worked closely with book designer Emily Tu, with words by John and photographs by Juli, to bring you the first Volume of what will hopefully be many publications over the coming years.

Inside volume 1:

Cafe Valand tour – Stockholm
Iris Hantverk workshop tour and interview with Lovisa Wattman
Kaffi Mokka tour – Reykjavik
Takashi Kougei workshop tour
Andrea Maack interview
Vik Pronsdottir interview
Iba Takahito home tour
Takano Coffee – Niseko Japan
Tanno Studio workshop tour
Pia Wallen workspace tour and interview

Curated guide to: Stockholm, Reykjavik, and Asahikawa Japan.

A little peek of the inside.

104 pages.

Printed in Toronto, Canada.

Available to be purchased here

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An exciting guest cottage post!

June 27th, 2012


We just got home from a very productive couple of days at the cottage. The weather was beautiful, the birds were singing, and we’re all grinning from all of the good work we did. The first thing you’ll notice is the new additions which I will get to in a minute. The big accomplishment this week was that my brother and I painted the entire cottage in one day. You can’t tell from the photographs but the before and after is staggering. We used Benjamin Moore’s cloud white, our staple white paint, and it enhanced all of the best qualities of the cottage. One thing we did learn about paint is that getting “Cloud White” at Home Depot is not the same as from Benjamin Moore. Definitely get Benjamin Moore. It’s a little thing but makes a huge impact.

Alright moving towards furniture…


One of the most exciting purchases is this 1940s cocktail cabinet by our favorite architect Alvar Aalto. We found this cabinet online at a wonderful vintage shop called Reside Inc.  The price was incredibly fair and the communication, packaging, and overall experience was top notch.

The cabinet is made from mahogany with Aalto’s signature bent birch legs. Everything is original including the shelves, a heart shaped key and the flawless patina.

***This cabinet is not for sale*** (Sorry, whenever we post anything like this we get a dozen inquiries)


I’m such a sucker for these old out of production Aalto pieces, they are so hard to find here in North America.


We found three of these framed Swedish lithographs from the inaugural Junction Flea a few weeks ago. We didn’t really get a chance to talk about it much but we will do a post about the many other items we scored soon! Next Junction Flea is July 8 and we highly recommend you come on out to the neighborhood for the day. It’s so worth it!

These are going to look great next to our future dining table.


On the other side of the living room we have a big Totone rug by Eero Koivisto for Asplund. It is actually a hangover from our first order from Asplund and we used it briefly on the floor before rolling it up and putting it in the basement so it wouldn’t be destroyed by snowy salty winter boots.

Hopefully it looks good with our sofa.


I fixed all of the cracks in the fireplace and gave everything another coat of paint. It’s a huge improvement.


In order to break up the fireplace a bit, I bought this cast iron rod to install underneath the wood ledge. I’ll put this palm sweeper and one of our persimmon dustpans by Oji Masanori on it to be used for sweeping ash.


The other piece to mimic the plastered fireplace is the RAW candleholder by Jens Fager. We have the traditional ceramic version of this at our main cottage so I think it’s a nice element to connect the two.


I’ve been saving this one, but thought I’d give you a sneak peak. We picked up a pair of these vintage Swedish sconce’s by Knut Hallgren. When the candle bulbs are in, it looks like a branch with three leaves. Can’t wait until they’re installed.


A hand broom for good measure.


A lazy but smart solution Juli came up with for the edges of the floor. The floor sander couldn’t go straight against the wall, so we were left with a dark strip of dirty flooring. I didn’t want to spend a day on my hands and knees with a hand sander so we simply painted the floor closest to the wall white. Since the bedrooms are already painted white it makes for an interesting transition.

It almost looks intentional.

We’re hoping to start filling the cottage with furniture soon, and then we’ll be able to finally put our feet up and relax. Never fear though, there will be plenty to tackle next summer…

Filed under: Cottage Reno | 10 comments

Lye and soaped floors at the guest cottage

June 23rd, 2012


Last week I went up north on my day off to paint the guest rooms and sun room floors white, and to lye and soap treat the rest of the unfinished pine floors. Having experimented with diluted milk paint on the floors in the store, I can confidently say this is the most natural looking white finish I have seen. It looks closer to an unfinished wood than something intentional.

You can see in this photo where the lye floor meets the white painted floor. The strip is from tape and shows the colour of the unfinished pine.



A shot of the floor after the first coat of soap flakes. The  soap creates a barrier to stop dirt and oil from penetrating the wood, to clean everything up again you simply have to mop the floor using the soap solution and the dirt and dust is removed and a new membrane of soap is added.


On top of that, it is the most matte finish you could ever ask for, and it also allows dents in floors to rise again.


I also got around to painting the bedroom floors a nice glossy white.



Also the sun room, which has never looked better. We have a really great idea for this room that I think you’re going to really enjoy!


Finally with the help of our plumber we installed the ceramic sink and white faucet which looks amazing against the birch counter.


I also managed to cut a new piece of wood to sit between the counter and the window. It’s starting to come together!

Filed under: Cottage Reno,General | 14 comments

Cottage Update: Kitchen counters and trim work

June 1st, 2012


Another day at the cottage and this time we removed the old blue MDF counter and replaced it with some nice birch counter tops. These are so easy to make because you don’t have to worry about laminating a bunch of solid wood pieces together, and since they aren’t very thick we can use a little electric hand saw to cut out the opening for the sink.


The old white cabinets with the black and white drawer pulls look great next to the pine floors and wood counters. The one thing we didn’t anticipate was the new thickness of the counter, and our nice wood edging was an inch too short. You can see on the the pieces underneath the window just shy of the trim and tiles. FYI Those windmill motif tiles will either be painted or replaced.


You might notice that I made a little plywood cabinet to sit flush with the window and cover up the electrical box. It’s still pretty noticeable, so I’m not sure if I should bleach the wood, or just paint over it.

The kitchen still needs a good paint job, but you can imagine what it will look like when it’s all finished.


The sink still waiting to be installed.


The first thing I did when we got up to the cottage was take off the tape and plastic from the mantel and brass fireplace. I needed it to look better than I left it because when I got back to the city and saw the photos I had a moment of regret painting the fireplace.


I think with the elements exposed it looks a bit more like a painted fireplace, than marshmallow village. What do you think?

At some point down the road we need to fix the cracks so maybe we’ll plaster the fireplace to smooth it out more.


elle decor winter 07

I found this image from Elle Decor’s winter 07 issue, I think it was on the cover. It reminded me of our fireplace at the cottage and looked so cool painted white. I can’t believe I found this photo, I remembered the home owners had a peace sign on their house so that’s what I searched to look it up.

Filed under: Cottage Reno | 15 comments